Public Transport and Taxis in Dublin
Proposals for an improvement in Dublin transport
Report prepared for the
National Taxi Driver's Union
and the Irish Taxi Driver Federation
Introduction and Summary
Dublin's taxi service is a small part of Dublin's public transport system,
which in turn constitutes less than half of the total transport system of the
capital. The basic problem lies not with the city's taxi service but with its
entire transport system. The latter is functioning very badly due to a
combination of poor planning, under-investment and rapid economic growth.
The very poor transport system imposes a large burden on the taxi service
because one of its roles is as a residual provider of transport, as we show
later. Inevitably the taxi service shows many strains under this burden, whether
caused by the poor bus service or traffic congestion.
It is a useless approach to address the strains in the taxi service purely
within the context of the taxi service. One must start with the bus service and
also consider the city's roads and street network. It is only within a coherent
planned approach to the city's transport system that one ought to consider
whether additional taxi licences are appropriate.
The population and the economy of Dublin have suffered grievously from an
absence of planning and an ad-hoc approach to solving problems. Ad hoc policy
prescriptions that are conceived without reference to an overall urban planning
context have frequently caused bigger problems in other sectors and often
worsened the perceived problems that they were intended to solve. It is quite
likely that the proposal to deregulate Dublin taxis could fall into this trap.
Belatedly, the DTI report and recommendations have given us a proper planning
context for Dublin's transport. It would be worse than useless to ignore that
report and attempt to implement an ill-considered economics experiment with the
Dublin taxi service. Dublin's transport system and its taxi service are both too
important for that.
Brief summary of report
This report examines the role of the taxi service in Dublin's transport
system. It then makes proposals for Dublin transport, including the taxi service
within the context of the DTI report and its recommendations. These proposals
are both realistic and yet readily achievable. They would enhance the economic
and social functioning of our city.
The approach in this report is contrasted with the alternative proposal of
partial deregulation for the taxi service with no consideration of the wider
transport issues. Previous experience in Dublin suggests that the outcome would
not be satisfactory. It could also result in damage to the economy of Dublin
mainly because of the unfavourable impression on visiting business- people and
tourists. Both previous experiences in Dublin and economic theory would suggest
that the taxi service that would greet them would be chaotic, unsavoury and
would very likely overcharge them. These impressions would adversely affect
Dublin's economic competitiveness compared to other western European competitor
Transport proposals for Dublin
- In the short to medium-term, the recommendations in the DTI report ought
to be fully implemented.
- A series of improvements to Dublin Bus services ought to be implemented
immediately which broaden the scope of the service in terms of routes and
times of service, including night services.
- Improvements ought to be made at key transport interfaces in the city like
Dublin airport and Heuston station and the facilities for loading taxis.
- Park and ride facilities ought to be introduced in the Autumn.
- City centre streets ought to be restricted to buses and taxis in similar
fashion to many European cities.
- A small number of additional taxi licences ought to be issued under the
current interim arrangements.
- Additional taxi ranks ought to be installed in the city and shelters
erected in some places.
- A review of the initial effects of these public transport improvements
ought to be undertaken early in the New Year.
Within a year, the following measures ought to be implemented as well;
- An ongoing subsidy ought to be re-introduced for Dublin Bus.
- Implementation of quality bus corridors must be made an absolute priority
by Dublin Corporation, the other local authorities and Dublin Bus.
- Further investment in traffic management in the city area
- Further restrictions on parking and more importantly enforcement of
parking regulations, not just in the city area but throughout the Dublin
These proposals would bring about a much-improved public transport service in
Dublin with a major reduction in transport bottlenecks. At the same time, they
would ensure the continuation of a professional, full-time, first class
taxi-service in the city that is an important feature of the drive to make
Dublin a major trading and services city in the European economy.
Taxis and public transport
A city's taxi service is a very small part of a city's transport system,
whose main components are roads and an (usually) integrated public transport
network of buses, trains and trams. Visitors and locals give rise to two very
different types of demand for taxi services that result in a dual service role
Locals use taxis as residual transport when a car is not suitable or public
transport is not available. Therefore there is a high demand for taxis among
young people and relatively poor people that do not own cars.
Another source of local demand for taxis is the demand for a door to door
service whether from local disabled people or other locals in the centre of the
Taxi-drivers play an important promotional role for a city -- without charge
Visitors to a city are very dependent on public transport, as it is difficult to
drive a hired car in an unfamiliar city. A visitor's demand for taxi services is
partly dependent on his or her financial situation and partly dependent on the
city's public transport network and its user-friendliness.
A city's taxi service has a visibility impact on visitors out of all
proportion to its significance in the public transport system. The service to
visitors has a multi-dimensional aspect, which performs an incalculable
marketing benefit for a city. For visitors, particularly businesspersons, a
full-time taxi-driver fulfils an important role as the main alternative contact
with Dublin outside of the direct business contacts of the visiting
businessperson. The Dublin taxi- driver becomes an instant tour guide as an
additional free service. It is easy to take this service for granted and
under-estimate its value to the city's economy.
Two key features of a city's taxi service;
- Its disproportionate impact on visitors, particularly visiting business-
- Its residual role in public transport
Therefore, it is meaningless to attempt a stand-alone analysis of a city's
taxi service without a full consideration of the city's public transport
network. The Oscar Faber report falls down in this regard. Furthermore, it is
essential for sustaining the Celtic tiger and Dublin's economic success that the
city's taxi drivers remain professional, full-time, reliable, and knowledgeable
of the city's geography, culture and society.
Dublin - Economic and planning background
Dublin is clearly prospering economically at present. In recent years, the
growth rate of the Dublin region has exceeded even the very high national
average rate. But it is also showing evidence of serious congestion after just a
few short years of growth, particularly in traffic and house prices. This is
regrettable and could have been avoided. By European standards, Dublin is a
medium-sized city (smaller than Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Lyon, Lisbon,
Brussels, Vienna, and Hamburg). Policy-makers need to implement a range of
actions, which will both ensure the sustainability of that success and improve
the quality of life for Dublin's citizens.
The traffic congestion is caused by poor public transport and sometimes by an
inadequate road infrastructure. With rising affluence, citizens will only use a
public transport network if it is significantly more efficient and convenient
than car travel. The housing issues are surprising given our relatively low
density of population. It is clear that Dublin' past development plans are
inappropriate for the modern-day economy.
Poor planning in Dublin has contributed to present congestion
There is considerable circumstantial evidence that "greater Dublin
City"" has suffered from inadequate land use planning and poor
planning guidelines, where those existed.
Dublin compares unfavourably with Cork. It adopted the LUTS (Land Use and
Transportation Study) proposals in 1979. By and large, the LUTS has provided a
consistent structure to Cork's development plans since then and for all urban
transport developments. Dublin has no equivalent. Dublin has had only two
attempts at an integrated approach to physical planning in modern times. There
were broad land use approaches established in the Dublin Advisory Plan and
Regional Report that was agreed in 1967. This has never been updated. The
strategy that was prepared by the Eastern Regional Development Organisation was
never adopted by the Government or the local authorities.
The report and recommendations of the Dublin Transport Initiative are a very
welcome development in the planning vacuum of Dublin. Therefore, it is all the
more important that all transport proposals are prepared within the context of
this report and are fulfilling its recommendations. The Oscar Faber report does
not mention the DTI or its recommendations.
Unsuitable spatial development has compounded the transport problem in
The low density planning guidelines that have been in existence since the
second world war have not served the city well in recent times. Higher densities
would have been more appropriate, particularly closer to the city centre (where
it would be easier to provide high capacity and high frequency public
transport). The overall planning concept was to welcome car ownership and make
way for it in suburban estates without sufficient foresight as to the ultimate
requirements for trunk road infrastructure or the implications for bus
Various trends in land use in Dublin need to be urgently reviewed, preferably
within an integrated overall framework. Many patterns of development have put
undue and unnecessary strains on the city's transport system.
One notable trend has been to locate large concentrations of
council/corporation housing in relatively remote suburban locations. Since the
1970s, it has not been possible to locate sufficient industrial employment near
these concentrations of housing in a manner that would make large numbers of
industrial jobs genuinely available to unemployed people living on
council/corporation estates. The dispersed location of public housing makes it
all the more necessary for good public transport to these suburbs, even though
it also makes it very uneconomic to provide them with good quality public
In the 1980s and 1990s, newer industry and particularly high technology
industries have shown a strong preference to locate in relatively attractive
neighbourhoods, very often, far removed from disadvantaged areas. In Dublin,
there has been an increasing tendency for these factories to locate in
greenfield locations beyond the built-up area. The IDA and the county planning
authorities do not seem to have sufficient regard for the demands, which these
locations will put on an already inadequate Dublin, transport system.
Another unsatisfactory trend has been a drift in business districts and the
establishment of satellite business districts. Quite often, their locations are
not optimal either from the point of view of the transport infrastructure of the
city nor the prospects of offering employment to the long-term unemployed.
Public agencies have often followed and sometimes played a leading role in these
trends. Examples of these trends are the drift in the main business district in
Dublin towards the Grand Canal. The establishment of major satellite commercial
and office locations in Stillorgan and Blackrock in the affiuent Southeast of
the city are very sub-optimal in the context of the city's transport
infrastructure. The Grand Canal area is a very unsuitable location for public
transport from all suburbs of the city except the south-east. Stillorgan and
Blackrock are two of the most unsuitable locations for office development,
particularly in the absence of the Southern Cross motorway.
A city is a single economic entity
A city is a single economic entity. If it is working efficiently, then there
are many and varied economic opportunities available to the entire city
population. This greatly enhances economic growth in the city and indirectly in
the whole country. For instance, the unemployed ought to be able to commute to a
job anywhere in a city. The economic boom has resulted in considerable numbers
of job vacancies of all types and skill levels in Dublin. But these job
opportunities are often just not available to many people in the city for
social, and particularly transport reasons. Dublin is seriously malfunctioning
as an economic entity.
The biggest obstacle to Dublin working efficiently as a city is that the
public transport network is very poor and fares are too high. Public transport
is partly a problem in itself but it is also due to the low-density sprawl of
housing in the suburbs, which makes it particularly difficult to operate high
frequency and convenient public transport. Existing suburbs cannot be rebuilt or
relocated. And it is important to recognise that in housing terms, they were a
major improvement on what preceded them. Therefore, the main solution,
particularly in the short term, is better city transport and especially public
Public transport in Dublin
Demand for transport has grown rapidly in Dublin City due to;
- population growth, and
- economic growth.
Other demographic trends are also a factor because of the bulge of young
Tourism has grown rapidly in the 1990s but this is true of many cities.
The problem is simple. The transport infrastructure and public transport
network has not been improved to keep pace with this growth. Worse still, it was
very inadequate to start with.
The road infrastructure is inadequate. The improvements that have been
planned are five years behind schedule while car ownership and traffic levels
are almost five years ahead of the levels that were forecast in the DTI reports.
The consequent congestion has a major negative impact on taxi services.
The public transport network was bad a generation ago. Now it is one of the
most inadequate of any similar-sized city in Europe. It is under-funded and
inadequately managed. The population and economic growth of the city has led to
increased demand for public transport in terms of the level and breadth of the
service, for instance late night. Irish trade has more than doubled in the 1990s
and this brings many more visiting business-people to Dublin who would be
inclined to use fast and user-friendly public transport in the cities that they
visit regularly. However, they will not use a slow and irregular bus service.
The LUAS story has become a farce. It exemplifies the worst aspects of the
inadequacies of public transport planning in Ireland.
The real issue is that demand for taxi services is inextricably linked with
the quality and extent of the city's public transport network particularly as
regards demand from local residents. A growing and increasingly prosperous city
will exert huge residual demand for public transport on the taxi service when
the public transport network has such poor coverage and quality of service. The
Oscar Faber report itself shows that Dublin's taxi ar;d private hire fleet is
relatively larger than comparable cities when compared with population. However,
the report fails to elucidate the reasons for this.
Dublin transportation initiative (DTI)
The DTI report summarised its objectives as follows;
Support economic regeneration and development throughout the Dublin area,
help maintain and reinforce the city centre as the country's prime commercial,
retail and cultural centre, give a better deal to public transport, emphasise
the movement of people and goods, not just vehicles, bring greater equity to the
transport system, improving accessibility for all and taking account of the real
needs of disadvantaged people, address the access requirements of the ports and
airport for both freight and passengers, give the car its rightful place in the
transport system but not let it dominate, bring about environmental
improvements, provide an integrated approach to transport and land use.
The DTI strategy is an integrated plan for Dublin's transport, which
emphasises the importance of a greatly improved public transport network, while
making certain necessary improvements to the road network. The DTI strategy
could not work without this.
This core fact of Dublin's transport strategy was not adequately reflected in
the Oscar Faber report. With Celtic tiger growth rates, nothing will work
properly in Dublin transport unless the core issue of the improvement of the
public transport network is addressed.
The city's taxi service can only play a minor role in the overall transport
strategy for Dublin. By implication, an ad-hoc approach that is exclusively
focused on the taxi service is expecting that taxis can fill the large gaps left
by the inadequate public transport network. This cannot work.
Earlier we have outlined the three core functions of a taxi service in any
city. All are necessary functions in any city. In addition, the service to
visitors has a multi-dimensional aspect, which performs an incalculable
marketing benefit for a city. If the taxi deregulation proposal was implemented,
there is a very large probability that the core functions of the taxi service
would not be fulfilled adequately, particularly the multi-dimensional service to
Some proposals in the DTI will take many years to implement, for instance,
building LUAS and major road projects like the northern motorway and the
south-eastern motorway. However, a number of measures could be implemented very
quickly, particularly an improvement to the bus service.
Despite the central role that the DTI intends for the bus service in Dublin's
transport strategy, the bus service has actually deteriorated in the last 30
years. So actual supply of public transport has contracted while potential
demand has greatly increased due to the growth in the population and the very
high economic growth rates in the 1990s. The net result is huge pressure on the
taxi fleet. The measures that caused an actual reduction in the bus service were
the abolition of the subsidy and of conductors. The latter has caused slower
journey times as drivers collect fares and issue tickets at every bus stop.
"Bunching" of buses has worsened with driver-only buses.
Major new investment is required in city bus services. The re-introduction of
annual subsidies for the city bus services is essential. Bus lanes and/or
quality bus corridors are urgently required. Permanent Park and ride schemes are
long overdue. Cork had a successful experience of park and ride last Christmas.
There are major requirements for additional cross-suburb routes. The
termination of many north side routes at Parnell Square or Marlborough St is
very unsatisfactory because most of the business districts are south of the
river and often close to the Grand Canal.
There is a need for a major expansion of the night service in terms of
routes. The demand for nighttime transport in Dublin has greatly increased and
it is incumbent on Dublin Bus, as the state-owned monopoly, to provide an
Taxi service - big increase in productivity
In contrast to the bus service, the taxi fleet (apart from the sizeable
increase in recent years) has seen a big increase in efficiency and utilisation
rates from the taxi fleet due to;
- Improved productivity by drivers
- Improved radio networks, and
- Greater utilisation of vehicles with multiple drivers.
However, taxis have been seriously affected by one major external factor,
traffic congestion. The peak hours have got worse and all-day congestion is
appearing in some parts of the city.
In addition, there appears to have been some alterations to traffic signal
sequencing in some key city centre streets in recent years, like O'Connell St.
These are also causing slower journey times for taxis.
Economic theory and the Dublin taxi service
The deregulation proposal for taxis is inconsistent even within the logic of
deregulation for two reasons. Firstly, there is no economic justification for
recommending that entry be deregulated and not fares. If the choice is to let
the market dictate, then there is a very strong argument to allow price
deregulation as well, in order that supply and demand will balance. Secondly, if
deregulation or market liberalisation is to be chosen for Dublin transport, it
makes no sense to introduce a half-baked deregulation for the taxi service on
its own when it is the bus service that is totally regulated and state
controlled. Given the residual nature of demand for taxi services, the first
active intervention must necessarily be with the bus service, whether to add
more capacity or to allow some competition.
Inconsistent deregulation proposal
In any service business, deregulation implies liberalising entry and fares
while retaining regulations for safety and standards. If one is attempting to
impose a free market prescription, prices must be liberalised otherwise supply
may not be sufficient to achieve market clearing at all times. This is precisely
what is likely to happen in Dublin during certain periods if the deregulation
proposal in the Oscar Faber report is implemented.
Where deregulation has been introduced in a transport sector in Europe or the
US for (say) airlines or road haulage, market entry and fares are always
deregulated together. Partial deregulation is the worst possible proposal for a
transport sector. It cannot work.
The Inter-departmental report on Taxis and Hackneys, 1992 In this report we
recommend against deregulation of the taxi service. There has been mixed
experiences with all forms of transport deregulation and particularly taxi
The arguments for and against full deregulation of the Dublin taxi service
were very well summarised in the above-named report in paragraphs 5.20 to 5.27.
The most compelling argument against deregulation is the avoidance of a return
to the unsatisfactory service that obtained in Dublin prior to 1978. Controls on
entry into the taxi trade were introduced, precisely to improve the taxi
service. It is unfortunate that the Oscar Faber report does not refer to this.
The Oscar Faber report merely states; "However there was concern that the
unrestricted increase in the number of taxis was leading to instability in the
market, and following a review of the market, restrictions on entry were put in
place in 1978." In fact, that review culminated in the Inter- departmental
report. That report says in par 5.21,
"The desirability of the total removal of controls on numbers must,
however, be viewed in the light of the experience of the system, which
operated prior to 1978. The quality of the taxi service, prior to the
introduction of controls, was generally regarded as sub-standard with poor
quality vehicles and widespread abuses, particularly overcharging, being the
norm. Account must also be taken of international experience generally. "
The type of taxi service that existed prior to 1978 is exactly what a
theoretical analysis would suggest; poor quality of service including
illegalities and an unstable provision of service.
Paragraph 5.25 of the Inter-departmental report summarises the arguments
against deregulation as follows;
"In theory, an approach based on free entry to the taxi market is
attractive. Most advocates of a deregulated taxi market suggest that free
entry with price competition, subject to strict quality control is the most
efficient strategy for regulating the trade. There is, however, no firm
evidence to confirm that deregulation of taxi markets actually achieves the
desired aims. The experience in Ireland before 1978 and more recently in a
number of UK cities would suggest that, while open entry solves immediate
problems of supply, it can result in a poor quality unstable market. In any
event, once taxi fares are controlled, and given the nature of the service
this is considered essential, the normal concept of a free market is no longer
applicable. For these reasons, the free entry approach is not seen as a viable
option at this time."
There is an unwarranted focus on the prices for taxi plates
Many commentators assume that the existence of transfer values on taxi plate
licences is automatic economic proof that there is an insufficient number of
taxi licences in existence. This type of economic analysis is excessively
simplistic and ignores the real economy, which has many complexities. Simple
perfect markets do not exist. Furthermore, there are frictional, transactional,
information and set-up costs involved in all businesses. This explains why there
is normally a transfer price (commonly called "key money") for a lease
even where a market-related rent is being charged. An economics student might
say that this cannot be. In fact, the real economic world is more complex than
the first chapter in an economics textbook. Not only do transfer prices exist
for leases with market rents, these prices tend to fluctuate considerably with
the economic cycle and are very high at present. In an economic slowdown, they
can easily go to zero.
This analysis does not suggest that a continuously rising transfer price for
taxi plates is desirable. It is not. The latest evidence is that it has
stabilised and may be falling slightly. In the next economic slowdown, transfer
prices could easily fall sharply.
It is important to examine the labour market aspect of any economic activity.
Dramatic change is taking place in the Irish labour market at the present time.
The co-incidence of unprecedented economic growth with a much lower birth rate
is causing a very rapid shift in Ireland away from a structural excess supply of
labour. The economy is already experiencing cyclical shortages of labour in many
subsectors. In ten years time, when the proposed taxi deregulation would be
complete, it could be facing into a long-term structural shortage of labour.
This would have major implications for the taxi service if deregulation of entry
were to be introduced.
There appears to be an implicit assumption in the Oscar Faber report that
there is an unlimited supply of people who want to be full-time taxi-drivers in
Dublin irrespective of probable earnings and the uncertainty of earnings in a
deregulated entry situation. This assumption is wrong, even before the
disappearance of the structural labour surplus. There are alternative jobs and
there is also the social welfare system.
One must assume that no active taxi-driver would be allowed to claim social
welfare. However it is open to any person to obtain both a PSV licence and a
taxi-plate for their family car. (Cars of the Toyota Corolla or Volkswagen Golf
class are big enough to be acceptable for a taxi-plate.) Many people with other
jobs or some type of other employment will feel inclined to avail of the
opportunity of occasional taxi work. Naturally, their main job would take
precedence. They would take their car out onto the street in their spare time if
they were badly in need of some additional money
By 2008, very few Irish people will be willing to work full-time as
taxi-drivers in a deregulated entry environment, except the really desperate.
Contrary to the implicit assumption of the Oscar Faber report, the vast majority
of Irish people will probably be able to pick and choose between jobs. Working
the streets of Dublin late at night for marginal and uncertain earnings in
constant fear of attack will probably be bottom of the list in terms of
preferred employment options.
Ease of entry - theoretical analysis
The taxi business in Ireland is peculiarly unsuited to free market
deregulation because of its extreme ease of entry in the short term as well as
the long term.
In microeconomic theory, a clear distinction is made between the potential to
vary supply of a product or service in the short term and the long term. In
almost all businesses, there are some inputs that are fixed in the short term,
e.g. factory, machinery, a shop, shop-fittings, buses, etc. Therefore there are
limits to the extent that a producer of goods or services can vary supply in the
short term. While theory assumes that he can vary inputs, like labour or energy,
it assumes that the fixed inputs cannot be changed in the "short
term". In contrast, standard theory assumes that all fixed inputs are
variable in the "long-term".
The consequences of fixed inputs in the short term is that in almost all
businesses, entry to a business sector or capacity expansion involves time lags
and a financial commitment. This process allows existing producers to make
"normal" profits. Short-term fluctuations in demand about a level
trend do not attract many new entrants to the business thus facilitating normal
and stable market conditions and normal profitability (in theory). Supply of the
service can be increased somewhat to meet higher demand by an increase in
variable inputs, particularly labour, e.g. overtime. In contrast, if an increase
in demand became apparent which resulted in a sustained increase in
profitability, this would be expected to attract new entrants or increases in
capacity and consequently a permanent increase in the supply of the product.
The problem with the taxi service in Ireland is that there are effectively no
fixed inputs in a deregulated market situation. The reason for this is that a
taxi licence would be obtainable on most types of family cars. Therefore once an
owner had a PSV licence and a taxi-plate, he would be in a position to take it
out on the street regularly or even just occasionally.
When there are no fixed inputs in the short term, no producer of goods or
services can expect to make normal profits. Consequently, it would be irrational
for any taxi-driver to work full time as a taxi-driver, if they had the
opportunity of full-time employment. Apart from worthwhile employment
opportunities, almost any other small business would be more attractive than
driving a taxi. The only situation where full-time taxi-drivers would continue
to exist is where there was chronic oversupply of labour and very high levels of
long-term unemployment. This has occurred in Ireland in the past in the 1950s
and for a time in the 1980s. However it is patently not the case today.
Furthermore labour market projections show that the very opposite situation of
labour shortages will characterise the Irish labour market in the next decade.
A summary of the problems with a proposal to
deregulate Dublin's taxi service
Deregulating entry to the taxi market without deregulating fares will
probably ensure that no one will be able to earn a decent living as a full time
taxi driver. One must expect that thousands of people will attempt to take up
part-time taxi driving. Economic theory would strongly suggest that it would
become impossible for anyone to earn a useful income as a full-time taxi- driver
without working unacceptably long hours, because of the ease of entry of
The taxi service would be likely to fluctuate substantially on a year to year
basis. When taxi driving is perceived to have become profitable or in recessions
when unemployment rises, many new entrants would be attracted to the trade. In
turn, this would greatly depress average earnings and earnings per hour worked,
which would in turn cause many of the better skilled people to leave the trade
for other work. The overall taxi service would deteriorate as would the average
skill level of taxi-drivers.
The major presence of part-time drivers that have other jobs would lead to a
very erratic service, with unpredictable shortages of taxis occurring
frequently. For instance, one could imagine that many part-timers would be
interested in working in October and November to make some extra money for
Christmas. However, in the weeks coming up to Christmas, many of the same
part-timers would be less inclined to work despite the heavy demand for taxis
during this period because of their own work or family commitments or simply
because they are less interested in using their leisure time to drive a taxi.
By 2008, we can expect many more immigrants to have arrived in Ireland. A
recent economic conference held by the Irish Economic Association illustrated
that this would be a predictable and indeed necessary development in the Irish
economy by then. In addition, there are likely to be six new member states in
the EU (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus) that will
lead to an increase in the EU population from 375m to 480m. The wage levels in
these states are much lower than in Ireland and this is likely to lead to a
large influx of legal immigrants to Ireland. In this labour market scenario, it
is very likely that taxi-driving in Dublin would be one of the first
occupational categories to record a high representation of immigrant workers if
entry were deregulated and the earnings became unattractive to younger Irish
workers. This has occurred in many cities in the developed world and there is no
reason why it would not happen in Dublin if deregulation was introduced. There
would be three negative effects of this trend. Firstly, many taxi drivers would
be unfamiliar with the geography of Dublin. Secondly many drivers might not have
good English and some passengers, including possibly some women passengers,
would be uncomfortable with this situation. Thirdly, it would eliminate the
invaluable marketing role that Dublin taxi-drivers do for the city. Frankly, the
"Dublin experience" for visiting business people and tourists would
not be the same with a Romanian or Estonian taxi-driver.
One final risk of deregulating entry is that it would make it easier for a
criminal element to get involved in the taxi trade. Again, this has occurred in
many other cities in the world and there is no guarantee that it could not
happen in Dublin if honest and respectable Irish people are driven out of the
business by low and uncertain earnings.
It is very easy to take for granted that an individual visiting
businessperson, male or female, can expect to hire a taxi at the airport and be
driven in safety and with good humour to their destination. An engaging
commentary on Dublin and Ireland will be included. There are many cities in the
world where this can not be assured and visiting business people are advised to
arrange to be met at the airport by a contact person.
A sensibly regulated taxi service is in the best interests of the future
prosperity of the city.
Review of Taxi and Hackney Carriage Service in the Dublin Area, Oscar Faber
in association with Goodbody Economic Consultants and Irish Marketing Surveys,
The Inter-departmental report on Taxis and Hackneys, Government of Ireland,